Interviews Tom Ferguson | Yellowtrace

 

Tom Ferguson is a Sydney born and bred architect with more than 15 years experience in residential projects. Tom established his own architectural practice, TFAD in Surry Hills back in 2006. Over the course of his career, Tom has photographed his own work as well as the work of others. He has cultivated a great interest in the art and commerce of architectural and interiors photography, which has steadily grown to become a major part of his business.

“As a photographer who is also an architect I believe I have an understanding of the composition of built form, of materials and their qualities and of the importance of light in capturing the many moods of architecture. Having worked on projects of many sizes I also have the ability to tell the whole story of a project from the most intimate interior details to the most heroic external architectural statements.” Well, we couldn’t have said it better ourselves Mr Ferguson.

So without further ado, please welcome Tom to these pages and read on to find out more about the work of this “double threat”. Actually, make that a “tripple threat”, as Tom is a rather handsome man, not to mention a super sharp dresser.

 

ABU House by Stephen Collins & Photographed by Tom Ferguson | Yellowtrace

ABU House by Stephen Collins & Photographed by Tom Ferguson | Yellowtrace

ABU House by Stephen Collins & Photographed by Tom Ferguson | Yellowtrace

ABU House, the warehouse conversion by Stephen Collins, first published in Vogue Living and then in Elle Decor Italia (including the cover). Photography by Tom Ferguson.

 

+ Hello Tom, welcome to Yellowtrace. Could you please give us a quick introduction on yourself? When did you first decide you wanted to become an architect and at which point did you become interested in architectural photography?

I was interested in architecture from a reasonably young age and remember drawing house floor plans in my spare time (with an amusing anecdote being the time I remember my mum telling me the plan was great but that perhaps the dining room should go closer to the kitchen). I was also always interested in photography and would always take a camera on holidays and school excursions.

I started combining the two when I worked at Cracknell Lonergan architects after graduating from UNSW when I began photographing their work for them, including new work and some of their older projects that hadn’t been photographed.

 

Tom Ferguson's Darlinghurst Apartment | Yellowtrace

Tom Ferguson's Darlinghurst Apartment | Yellowtrace

Tom Ferguson's Darlinghurst Apartment | Yellowtrace

Tom Ferguson's Darlinghurst Apartment | Yellowtrace

Tom Ferguson’s Darlinghurst apartment.

 

+ How does your architectural practice influence your photography practice, and vice versa?

As an architect I’m intimately involved in the creation of space, and this allows me as a photographer to be able to capture it in a way that conveys the intention of the designer both in terms of how it is used, how the user might experience it and how the designer might want it to appear as an image.

Photography also allows me to get out and see the fantastic work of others which then feeds back into my architectural practice. More and more often I find myself illustrating my own design projects as if I were photographing them (quite often leading to a striking similarity between the concept design and design development illustrations and the finished product).

I like the idea that as a photographer you are both recording the work and interpreting it, such that the photo is both a mirror held up to and a window into the work.

 

Birchgrove Terrace by Tom Ferguson | Yellowtrace

Birchgrove Terrace by Tom Ferguson | Yellowtrace

Birchgrove Terrace by Tom Ferguson | Yellowtrace

Birchgrove terrace by TFAD, soon to be published in Inside Interior Review. Photography by Tom Ferguson.

 

+ What are you seeking to portray in your work? Is there something that is fundamental to your practice – your philosophy and your process?

I don’t think I have an overriding philosophy that predetermines the path that any architectural or photography assignment might take. In architecture I’m very responsive to the client and while the basic concepts of great planning, form making and detailed interior design are consistent, the look and feel of every project is different and is usually based what direction the client wants to go in and what their budget is.

 

Paddington Terrace by Tom Ferguson | Yellowtrace

Paddington Terrace by Tom Ferguson | Yellowtrace

Paddington terrace by TFAD, soon to be published as a renovation story in House & Garden. Photography by Tom Ferguson.

 

+ Who or what are some of your influences? What other photographers, architects and creatives in general do you admire?

Frank Lloyd Wright was a big influence early in my career, and I have a great respect for mid-century modern architects and photographers including people like Richard Neutra, Pierre Koenig, John Lautner, Julius Schulman (Photographer) and Ezra Stoller (Photographer).

I think Australian architects and designers are doing amazing work (an indication of which is how hard it is to get shortlisted for any awards these days!) and there are too many to single out. A contemporary photographer that I admire and would like to emulate is Richard Powers.

 

Palm Springs Photographed by Tom Ferguson | Yellowtrace

Palm Springs Photographed by Tom Ferguson | Yellowtrace

Palm Springs Photographed by Tom Ferguson | Yellowtrace

Palm Springs Photographed by Tom Ferguson | Yellowtrace

Tom Ferguson’s photos of  Palm Springs Modernism Week and The Frey House for WISH Magazine.

Related Posts:
Event Report // Palm Springs Modernism Week 2014.
Albert Frey House II in Palm Springs.

 

+ What advice would you give to emerging architects/ photographers who want to follow your path? What was one of your biggest lessons learned since starting your practices?

I was lucky enough to be able to photograph the work of my former employer and then my own work which allowed me to develop my skills before starting to work for other people, but for those who don’t have that opportunity I would say get out there and practice. There are lots of fantastic buildings that can be photographed from public places and your photography skills will develop over time.

Being able to photograph your own work is also of great value in promoting yourself, something a lot of architects don’t feel naturally comfortable with but which is a necessary thing.

 

The Avenue Terrace in Randwick by Tom Ferguson & Arent&Pyke | Yellowtrace

The Avenue Terrace in Randwick by Tom Ferguson & Arent&Pyke | Yellowtrace

The Avenue, Randwick terrace by TFAD. Photography by Tom Ferguson.

 

+ What has been your career highlight?

As a photographer having my photographs of the award winning ABU House by Stephen Collins published in Elle Decor Italia including the cover shot (May 2014).

As an architect winning the 2010 Dulux Study Tour national prize for emerging architects.

 

ABU House by Stephen Collins & Photographed by Tom Ferguson | Yellowtrace

Tom’s photo of ABU House by Stephen Collins made the cover of Elle Decor Italia. Woot!

 

+ What’s next – can you share with us your vision and some of your goals?

Over time I will continue to produce interiors focused architectural projects while I continue on with photography. I’m in the process of putting together a small self published book of architectural & interiors photography which I’ll put out later in the year.

 

Warehouse conversion in Rozelle by Tom Ferguson | Yellowtrace

Warehouse conversion in Rozelle by Tom Ferguson | Yellowtrace

Warehouse conversion in Rozelle by Tom Ferguson | Yellowtrace

Warehouse conversion in Rozelle by Tom Ferguson | Yellowtrace

A renovation and warehouse conversion in Rozelle by TFAD for Edwina McCann (then editor of Harpers Bazaar, now editor of Vogue). Published in a few magazines, but first seen in Vogue Living. Photography by Tom Ferguson.

 

Let’s Get Real:

+ What’s the best mistake you have ever made?

I was probably a bit young and inexperienced when I left Cracknell Lonergan but it was a ‘deep end’ kind of thing which served me well in the end.

+ What is your most treasured belonging?

A small ceramic plaque which used to hang on my bedroom door as a kid. It says ‘Tom’s Room: Happy Memories Brighten Quiet Hours’ and has a picture of a kid fishing on it.

+ It’s not very cool, but I really like…

Photographing birds and planes.

 

Birds & Planes Photography by Tom Ferguson | Yellowtrace

Birds & Planes Photography by Tom Ferguson | Yellowtrace

Tom Ferguson’s personal photographs of Birds & Planes.

 

See other photography projects by Tom Ferguson on Yellowtrace.


[Photography  courtesy of Tom Ferguson.]

 

About The Author

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Team Yellowtrace is a small and highly dedicated bunch of cool kids who assist in the production of design stories, general admin and correspondence associated with each and every post. The team works tirelessly behind the scenes, providing invaluable support to the Editor In Chief. Extreme love and respect to the power of ten!

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